Exhibition Opening: Sol LeWitt

Wall Drawing #415 A, 1984/2020. Courtesy Liliana Tovar Collection, Stockholm. Photo: Vigfús Birgisson.

A survey of the work of US conceptual artist Sol LeWitt will be opened in Reykjavík Art Museum on Thursday, 13 February at 20h00. This is the first time his work is shown in Iceland.

The programme starts with curator Lindsay Aveilhé telling visitors about the artist and discussing the exhibition’s creative process with the draftsmen. The exhibition is located in B- and C-Hall of the museum and the dialogue takes place there. Hjálmar Sveinsson, chairman of the Reykjavík Committee of Culture, Sport and Leisure, opens the exhibition.

Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) is known for his unique wall drawings, sculptures, graphic and book art. He is considered a pioneer of conceptual art and minimalism. His ideas and methods have greatly influenced modern art and his work has been on show in many of the world’s main exhibition spaces. The exhibition in Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús is a unique opportunity to become acquainted with LeWitt’s extensive wall drawings and paper works.

Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings have offered a challenge to the art world since the 1960s, when he started creating works based on drawings which were realised in each exhibition place, based on exact calculations. This work relied on his collaboration with other artists, as their size and scope far exceeds that which one man can accomplish.

Since the beginning of January, a small army of people has worked on installing Sol LeWitt’s work directly onto the walls of Hafnarhús. A team of five artists, who install LeWitt’s work all over the world, has resided in Reykjavík for a month, along with fifteen art students from all over who participate in the work. The group has worked tirelessly to install the exhibition, using a variety of methods and all sorts of tools; pencils, ink, rags, wax crayons and more.

The result is a stirring experience of unique works which are created using exact instructions by the artist himself. The exhibition’s effect is complex; one of its most interesting features is the enormous effort it takes to create the artworks, as well as the impressive experience of the space and the impermanence of the energy which it takes to create the exhibition, as the works will disappear once it is over. Sol LeWitt’s art lives in drawings and in instructions which sometimes is visible in the work itself.

Sol LeWitt was born in 1928 in Hartford, USA, and died in New York in 2007, at 78 years of age. He is considered one of the main protagonists of conceptual art, an international movement which started in the 1960s. In conceptual art, all ideas and the planning of the artwork is decided beforehand, to quote the artist himself; “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”.

LeWitt’s artworks can be found in museum collections around the world. To show just how extensive a project installing this kind of exhibition really is, it is worth noting that there is currently a retrospective of over 100 works by LeWitt in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art – and the plan is for this exhibition to stay open until 2043!

The curator of Sol LeWitt in Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús is Lindsay Aveilhé, editor of Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings Catalogue Raisonné. The selection of Sol LeWitt artist's books has been organized in collaboration with Emanuele De Donno and the VIAINDUSTRIAE archive.

The exhibition will be on view until 24 May 2020.